Infertility is hard enough to deal with; add in the Army and it can become even more stressful. My husband and I have been dealing with infertility for a total of 25 months-13 of them have been in the Army. Here are some helpful hints and an idea of what to expect based on my personal experience.
Always keep the contact information of all of your previous doctors. You never know when records will get lost so it is helpful to keep a list of your doctors’ names, addresses, phone numbers and fax numbers. As soon as you get to your new (or first) duty station, be sure that you have all of your records transferred to your new hospital. Having them there before your first appointment can make things much easier
As soon as you get to your new (or first) duty station, call the on post hospital appointment line and make an appointment with your PCM. Be sure to tell the appointment scheduler that you have infertility issues and that is the reason that you need to be seen. Here at our current duty station, there is only one PCM who does infertility workups-it could be the same at other duty stations. Also, don’t assume that you won’t receive help if you’ve been TTC (trying to conceive) for less than a year. Due to my history of whacky and painful cycles, we received help in under a year.
When you see your PCM, be clear about what you need and what testing (if any) you’ve had done. In our case, I’d received Clomid and Pregnyl and had previously completed blood work. What we had not had was an HSG for me and a SA (sperm analysis) for my husband. Those tests were ordered before I could receive a referral to an OB/GYN.
In my case, our referral was for an OB/GYN on post and he is wonderful. Others have not been as fortunate. If you have a bad/rude/uncaring doctor, try to change doctors. Infertility sucks and it will suck more with a doctor who is less than good.
After testing, speak with your doctor about options. Be open with him about what you and your partner want to do. You need to lose all inhibitions about discussing sex and bodily fluids, trust me on that one. Expect to travel for IUI and IVF. A few MTFs do them but not nearly enough. In our case we are looking at travelling across 5 or 6 states to get treatment.
Be realistic about your expectations but also try to be positive. This is a difficult journey but remember that you are not alone. Many couples out there face infertility and many become pregnant. Remember that sex should be fun, even is you have to schedule it around your ovulation. I want to punch people when they tell me to relax and not stress-hello, this is stressful people-but they are right. Infertility puts a tremendous amount of stress on a couple and you need to find ways to relax and enjoy each other like you did before infertility. For us it’s eating out, going to movies, hanging out with friends at the local watering hole-anything that is not baby related.
I’d hoped to be able to close this article with our happy ending but I can’t do that just yet. We are still on this journey. Hopefully one day soon we will have our happy ending and you’ll be able to read it at http://liberalgranolagirl.wordpress.com.Until then, we will have fun practicing.